BY CORINNE GUNTER, GRACE ATTENDER
On a drive down to Florida in 2016, Hurricane Matthew created the need for an unexpected detour. After being re-routed we realized we could drive through Selma, Alabama. I had been wanting to visit the site of “Bloody Sunday.” If you’re not familiar with Selma, on March 7, 1965, 600 civil rights advocates marched in support of voting rights were attacked with billy clubs and tear gas and sent back to Selma. Read more about it here.
As I stood in the shadow of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where the attack took place, I found myself involved in a surprising conversation with a total stranger. As we stood shoulder to shoulder, He asked ""Do you think we are any better off than we were then?""
The open, honest discussion that ensued between two strangers would open my eyes and ears to truths I’d been previously able to ignore.
As we shared our stories, we began to see and hear each other. I was unsettled as I pondered both history and the realities of our day. Though I was only an infant when Bloody Sunday took place. I began to realize that this story is part of my story. This is OUR story.
As we finished our conversation, we noticed a woman watching us. She couldn't shake the feeling that she was supposed to stop and talk to us. I am glad she did.
As the five of us formed a circle, we reached for each other’s hands and prayed. I wish I could remember the words we each offered. However, I’ll never forget the beauty of standing together offering our unique perspective and prayers for a better tomorrow.
In some small way, I believe our surprising encounter allowed us to listen and learn from each other. It makes me wonder what could happen if more of us could find a way to listen to each other.
It makes me wonder what could happen if more of us could find a way to listen to each other.
Jesus said this: So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. (John 13:34-35)
Give us your eyes to see what you see.
Give us your ears to hear what you hear.
Give us your heart to feel what you feel.
Give us your hands and feet to follow you.
May all that we say and do be pleasing to you.
Change the World
Like I said, this is OUR story. It's up to each and every person to effect change. And every one of us can do something. How? Here are three easy ways:
1. Share your story. Your story is important and people need to hear it. Have a story about reconciliation you want to share? Let us know so we can share it in service, via video, on social media or even on our blog.
2. Get informed. The best way to make change happen is to learn. Click the "racism" topic on our Grow page for more.
3. Serve somewhere. By stepping into reconciliation you can break the cycle of hatred and injustice.